My whole life I've never wanted to be a missionary. I thought missionaries were cool but I had decided long ago that it just wasn't my thing. Being a missionary would require me to leave my family to serve in who-knows-where in the world for 18 months. I would be required to abide by rules which include (but are not limited to...) no watching TV, no non-church music, no dating, waking up at 6:30 am every day, only calling or skyping home on Mothers' Day and Christmas, only emailing family and friends and shopping on Mondays, and having to be within sight and sound of my assigned companion 24/7. Yuck.
However, certain circumstances in my life led me closer to God. I became more humble and submissive as I realized that things were out of my control and I had to rely more on God. I began to pray more sincerely than I ever had in my life and beg God to help me. He did indeed help and guide me, but not in the way I imagined. He asked me to serve a mission.
Before my decision to serve, women had to be 21 and men had to be 19. However, Saturday, October 6, 2013, our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, made a historic announcement to the church during the Church's Semi-Annual General Conference. He announced that now men only had to be 18 and women only had to be 19. They still had to be graduated from high school and in good standing with the church, but the drop in age was huge. Before that moment, I had received numerous promptings from God to serve a mission but it wasn't until that moment that I realized I would actually serve a mission. From that day forward, I prepared myself to serve the Lord for 18 months and teach others more about His restored gospel.
Almost exactly a year later on October 2, 2013, two weeks before I turned 19, I received my own big envelope in the mail with a mission call. I was to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) that January and begin my mission. Preparing was hard. I prepared physically by buying lots of luggage and clothes necessary. I prepared spiritually by reading my scriptures, praying, and attending church. I prepared emotionally by coming to terms with the fact that I would be out working hard with a bunch of people who don't want to hear Christ's message, all without my family for 18 months. When my family dropped me off at the MTC in Utah in January, I started crying uncontrollably. I was so excited to serve, but I could not stand having to leave my family. I cried the hardest as I hugged my 10 year old sister. She will be 12 and going into middle school by the time I get home. It was hard, but finally I let go and I allowed myself to be led away from my family. I followed the other missionaries guiding me, received my name tag and my first companion, and prepared to dedicate the next 18 months to the Lord. And what an amazing adventure it's been so far.
I am so grateful to be a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but I have been so immensely blessed by it. I hope that I can be a missionary on this blog as well as on the streets by explaining and teaching the beliefs of Christ's church and inviting everyone to learn more and to come closer unto Christ.